Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Dave and I have had a few conversations over the years about Santa. To Santa or Not to Santa. And neither of us feel particularly strongly about it. Either way.

I like the idea To Santa because I feel like Santa is nice part of our culture. And we are raising little Americans that will go to school with other little Americans that will believe in Santa. And I think sharing that kind of thing with your friends is a wonderful part of childhood.

I like the idea Not to Santa because it just feels awkward to me. "Santa's watching! You better be a good little boy!" Or "Santa gave you that!" It's not that I'm against lying to my kids...though I imagine my husband feels strongly about NOT lying to our kids (hey! What's a little white lie? They are even kinda fun!)'s more that the Santa thing just feels forced.

Andrew and I are reading The Polar Express in Mommy School this week. I absolutely love this book. It's illustrations are stunning. The language is practically poetry. My favorite part is on the next to the last page when the Mom and Dad can't hear the ringing of Santa's bell because they don't believe in Santa. I get goosebumps. Every time. It's written so beautifully and it's just a good story. And after reading the book I feel strongly that I want to believe in Santa.

Andrew will just have to make up his own mind.


Tara Whalen said...

We Santa, but don't really Easter Bunny.
Good luck with deciding!

Melissa said...

We've had a lot of these conversations, too. We don't Santa in the way most people do. We tell stories and talk about Santa (we're not anti-Santa as a character). But we treat him like we would any other character- or fairies.

I love the magic behind Santa. And I love the idea of fostering magic. But I like fairy magic better because the whole country isn't in on it. Know what I mean? I just feel like there's so much Santa everywhere and he, too, has become quite commercial, and there are all these beliefs about Santa. So we decided to still tell stories about Santa and keep it fun, but we're not going to tell him that Santa is going to come to our house at night (which, like his aunt, would probably freak Atticus out) and we're certaintly not going to tell him "You'd better not shout; better not cry; better not pout, I'm telling you why- Santa Clause is coming to town" (what weird mixed messages about Santa!).

Anyway- we have friends who do Santa and friends who don't. I can see why people do Santa and why others don't.

Our neighbors kids' leave there shoes out the night before their birthday for the birthday elves to fill them. I like that. magical. Exciting. But not a conspiracy.

Chris just told me about a friend of his who was sure there was no Santa and his sister was sure there was. So, when they left a snack out for Santa, they marked a dot on the bottom of the carrot they were leaving (knowing their parents would eat the cookies but not the carrot!). On Christmas morning, instead of running to their gifts, they ran to the fridge to check the carrots ! (-: When i was a kid, I wouldn't have even thought that my parents would lie to me in any way. I was too trusting!

Shannon said...

We don't Santa either. Cole (my 7 year old) was scared to death of the thought of someone coming in our house at night. He takes after me...I hated that thought. So this was an easy out for us although I don't think we would have done it anyway. K.C. (my husband) felt strongly that we were lying to them. I don't really feel that way but I still would feel guilty talking about it to them like it was real. Like Melissa, I like the magic behind Santa but that magic is still in our house even without him. I like that the kids know the presents are from us and not from some fictional character. We also treat him just like we would any other character. I hate when people say "oh Santa's watching and if your not good, he won't come." The tough part is getting my kids not to tell the secret to other kids. Cole knows but Paige is still learning.

I don't think there is a wrong or do what works best for your family.

Mama V said...

I remember knowing early on as a child that Santa wasn't real but playing along with the idea and knowing that playing along is part of what we do. I think that's the balance we'd like to strike with our kids someday.

Our beef with the Santa story is the vagueness and oversimplification of good/bad behavior. I kind of think that the "bad" children tend to need the most grace and love and special presents most of all! Clearly we transfer this over into our theology a little too much... But our *plan* is to try to stay away from over-Santafying things and talking a bit more about Jesus's birthday.

And of course, to Lucas that means that he thinks we're going to do his favorite thing on the 25th: bake cupcakes and blow out candles and sing Happy Birthday. It'll be a busy day!

And he knows that Santa says "ho, ho, ho" and gives presents, but that's about it right now. Can't they stay this young forever??

I'm sure home culture and larger culture will clash and conflate and/or meld eventually. And hopefully when that happens we'll be able to put things in perspective and talk about these two histories from another time and place and culture and how they both came to us and are understood to us today.

Hey, there's always the Three Kings (Los Reyes Magos) on Epiphany to bring 3 presents! That was another big thing growing up in our home. (Definitely an "American" tradition depending on how broadly you define the term, right?) Although as a kid I always saw January 6 as another day for getting more gifts instead of thinking about its biblical significance. ;)

So much for Jesus!

Sarah said...

like you guys we haven't come down on this either way yet. but this is the year to make a choice and i think we are going.... Not Santa! we want to emphasize the Jesus part of Christmas (what we think it is all about) and downplay the gifts a bit (what Santa is all about). I like the imagination part of Santa but know that mu kids have active imaginations without him and there is part of me that says "if i tell them to believe in God and you cannot see him wont they doubt my authority on these things if i tell them Santa is real and then he isn't." Also, I love that book!

Seeking La Loba said...

My parents were pretty half-hearted about Santa. I remember at a very young age, coming to my Mom and saying, "Now, how does Santa get to ALL the houses in one night? That just seems impossible." And she didn't even attempt to keep up the fantasy, but totally fessed up at the first sign of logical thinking.

My best friend on the other hand, firmly held onto the belief. When I confronted her with this seeming impossibility, she was positive that's what the magic was about, and wouldn't believe me when I said my Mother had told me the truth. She had a lot more spirit for all holidays and such, though. I think she also really believed in Smurfs for a long while.

Robyn said...

Wait. Are you saying the smurfs aren't real?